NORML UK’s Six Stage Essential Guide to Getting Away with Smoking Cannabis in England
By Simon Doherty
- Don’t walk down the street or drive your car smoking it.
Of course it is tempting to roll ‘one for the road’ as it does make journeys 100% more interesting and bearable but it leaves you well open to persecution. Remember, your local police forces are fed resources and bonuses based on the number of people they arrest. That makes it much more attractive for them to arrest 10 docile tokers than spend time, effort and resources arresting violent offenders or someone engaging in serious crime which is likely to involve a substantial investigation.
It’s a clever system as it allows the government to present statistics showing a crackdown on crime – great for votes. Yes, people are getting caught with weed but what about the aggressive drunks, sex offenders, burglars and so on? Limited resources are being drawn away from serious crime and channelled into petty delinquency. Don’t play into their hands, comrades; light up at home before you go out or when you get to where you are going.
- Be white and middle class.
Perhaps the most important variable in determining whether you are picked out for a search is your race and socio-economic status. Interesting research, published in 2010 and titled ‘Stop and Think’, from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) draws our attention to the fact that a black person is 28 times more likely to be stopped in an attempted drug bust than a white person.
A follow up studyhe EHRC in 2013 confirmed that the police have introduced steps to address the ethnic disparity in stop and searches. Drug charity Release argued that this is not good enough in their research, also published last year, highlighting that black people are subject to immediate custody at a rate of 5 times that of white people for drug possession offences.
“It is difficult to explain to children why they are being treated differently than their white peers and it is difficult to report any other crimes to police as I have lost all confidence in their ability to protect me and my family. I distrust the police and think most of them have a racial bias against black people.” Black African male.
Taken from data collected by Release in 2013
- Safety is found in numbers.
The police do not have the resources to prosecute large numbers of people who are openly using the herb. This is demonstrated beautifully both at the annual 4/20 protest, the result of a collaboration between NORML UK and the UK Cannabis Social Clubs, and at festivals throughout the land. And we all know that one pub that turns a blind eye to funny smells in the smoking area.
At the infamous 4/20 in London there are between 5-10,000 people in the park toking, smoking and more recently dabbing the afternoon away with little or no authoritarian intervention- if arrests are made it is seldom for a cannabis possession.
- Know the Law – and Cite It
The police often don’t know the legislation they are employed to uphold, having a degree in law is certainly not a prerequisite of assuming their role.
If you are stopped by the police they will often have no ‘reasonable suspicion’ that you have committed a crime and therefore no jurisdiction to search you. However, the individual who has been stopped often gives them this reasonable suspicion during the conversation.
If you are pulled over they may ask what at first seems to be benign questions such as “where are you going to/from?” Don’t answer and don’t be fooled; they might act friendly but they are not your friend. Everyone has vested interests in this conversation; his/hers is to win an increased bonus by catching you with weed and yours is to protect your future employment prospects. Believe me you need to protect those prospects in the current job market.
So instead of answering anything ask them questions such as “am I being detained or am I under arrest?” At that stage, if they say the word “no” immediately walk away saying nothing further. You will be astonished how effective this technique is.
If they confirm they are detaining you they will usually cite the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) as a cause to search you but they rarely know what this means. Let’s face it they’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer. If they were they probably wouldn’t choose to wrestle drunken people for a living. I know these blogs go quite far so if a police officer is reading this and I have offended you: GOOD. Your discrimination offends me on a daily basis.
At this stage you may speak. Only to ask them what is their reasonable cause for detaining you is, also state that you will require all the paperwork after the search. This will often scare off the confused and lazy officers. If it actually gets to the search, and they do cite reasonable suspicion, they can only search your outer coat, jackets and bag. It is interesting to note that they cannot search your boxers, bra, socks Ect.
Here is the PACE Act. Read it, learn it and carry it around if you need to.
- If arrested say nothing. No really.
When the police arrest you they will say the following: ‘anything you say will be used against you’. This means exactly that so DON’T SAY ANYTHING, at all, at any stage. You should confer with your solicitor and try and determine that the search was illegal.
If they never had their reasonable suspicion, which according to research published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary last year is in around 27% of cases, you get off with it regardless of the amount you got caught with. Believe me the police are wholly incompetent at their job but if you admit it at any stage instead of going down fighting you are finished and they have won.
- End prohibition with a march on October 4th 2014
For us not to have to adhere to the rules set out above we must dismantle the most physically and socially dangerous policy in the history of the world: the incessant and discriminatory ‘war’ on drugs.
If you agree then we will see you in London on our END PROHIBITION FREEDOM MARCH. It will take place on October 4th 2014 at Hyde Park, Speakers Corner. We will be marching to the BBC HQ in Portland Place making our point that we have had enough of drug laws that are more dangerous than the drugs themselves that serve merely to marginalise, discriminate against and socially exclude individuals.
*This article is designed purely for entertainment only. Although we vehemently campaign for an end to the discrimination levied at cannabis users in the UK neither the author nor NORML UK condone, endorse or encourage any type of activity which is currently deemed illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.